Records Relating To the Barony of Kendale: Volume 3. Originally published by Titus Wilson and Son, Kendal, 1926.
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To shew the spirit of non-toleration that moved the magistrates in 1667 we give the two following letters. The first from Daniel Fleming to Sir Thomas Braithwaite, Thomas Layburne and Nathaniel West, dated 25 January, 1666/7, desiring them as Popish Recusants to give him an account of all arms in their possession and to engage to hold them for the king's service. To which Nathaniel West replied that he is not so well furnished with arms as he was against Sir George Boothe's business, when he lived at Borwick. He has only two fowling-pieces and two swords, and his servants have three swords. The king has not any subjects that will swear higher allegiance than the Papist will. (Hist. MSS. Com., 12th Rep., p. 44). The second from Alan Bellingham to Daniel Fleming, dated 2 February, 1666/7, saying that nearly twice as many Papists were presented at the Sessions in the 16 Charles 1 (1640) which makes the fidelity of the present constables and churchwardens appear doubtful, for it is believed the number of Papists has much increased. Ibid. 45.
Daniel Fleming to Sir John Lowther, dated 24 April, 1674. We in this part of the county having no public directions how to act against Dissenters, save His Majesty's proclamation for the suppression of Popery, dated 20 November last past, in pursuance of the same we issued out our warrants requiring the constables and churchwardens to return us at our next Quarter Sessions a perfect schedule of the names of all Papists and Popish Recusants, and when these presentments shall be made I think we shall make the Clerk of the Peace put all persons presented that shall be above 16 years old into an Indictment. . . . . . and upon their non-appearance, to make such a proclamation against them as is directed us by the Statute of 3 James, so that at the following Quarter Sessions they must either appear and traverse or be convicted, which will entitle His Majesty to two-thirds of their estates, etc., etc. Sir John Lowther replies with approval saying that the Justices in the Bottom have resolved to proceed against those who absent themselves for one month, under the Statute of 23 Elizabeth, which is in general terms and not confined to Popish Recusants. The fine is 20s. for the month. Hist. MSS. Com. 12th Report, p. 110.
On 9 October, 1678, Sir George Fletcher, James Bellingham and Daniel Fleming issued a warrant to search the houses of the following persons, being Popish Recusants, Sir Thomas Strickland of Sizergh, Sir Thomas Braithwaite of Burnehead, Anthony Duckett of Grayrigg, John Leyburne of Witherslack and others. (Ibid., 149). On 15 December, Mr. John Browham, high constable of Kendal Ward reported that the arms taken from Anthony Garnet of Skelsmergh included a backsword, a rapier and a case of pistolls, one wanting a lock. From widow Palat (Platt) in Skelsmergh, an old musket and a dagger. Also that one silver hilted rapier was delivered back again to Sir Thomas Strickland, and one little gun to Mr. Peter Mowson. (Ibid., 151). There were 143 Popish Recusants in the Barony of whom 54 were marked as "convicted," 13 as "Protestant," 7 as "beggars" and one who "will go to Church tomorrow." Ibid., 152.
On 22 January, 1678/9, the constables issued a further schedule of the arms taken:— from Sir Thomas Braithwaite, one rapier and one carbine; from Mr. John Pickering, one large gun; from Mr. Peter Mowson, one little gun; from Mr. Stephenson, one old sword; from Mr. Anthony Duckett, a back, breast and head piece, two fowling pieces, one musket with a firelock and one great sword; from widow Platt, one old gun; from Mr. John Wilkinson, one Scottish side pistoll; from Sir Thomas Strickland, a back, breast and head piece, one case of pistolls and holsters and one silver-hilted rapier; from Walter Kendall, one large fowling piece. Ibid., 154.
Sir Thomas Strickland declared that he could not take the oath for it styles the king Supreme Governor in all Spiritual things, thus he would be bound to follow the king's religion whatever it might be. He is willing, and thinks that all Recusants would also be willing, to take the oath of Allegiance. He would swear to defend the king against all enemies domestic or foreign, and against the Pope no less than against a pagan, should he invade the king's dominions. Ibid., 154.
On 5 October, 1680, Daniel Fleming and others wrote to the Earl of Sunderland, informing him that in obedience to the king's commands they had bound over a great number of Popish Recusants to keep the peace and to appear at the Sessions to take the oaths. Most did appear accordingly and took the oath of Allegiance. Ibid., 171.
In accordance with an Order of Council for disarming all Papists and disaffected persons and after Sir John Lowther's call upon such to appear at the Round Table on May 20, 1692, to answer to all interrogations then put to them, warrants were issued for the arrest of those who refused to appear, and for the seizure of their horses above the value of £5, viz., Hugh James of Levens, Timothy Banks of Crooklands, Thomas Shepherd of Sizergh, Henry Guy of Watercrook, Richard Pinder of Kendal, Sir Thomas Graham of Kendal, Robert Stephenson of Dodding Green, William Thornborough, Anthony Barwick, Mr. Shatford of Kendal, Mr. Kilner late of London and Thomas Pickering. On the following day was issued a further list of those whose horses were to be seized, viz. from, Sir Christopher Philipson, Mr. Wytham, and Mr. George Leyburne. Ibid.,329.
Sir Daniel Fleming appears to have been as lenient as he could be, for the Earl of Carlisle accused him, on 17 March, 1695/6, of an insufficient execution of the Council's Order, saying, "The principal Papists have been secured in all parts of England and the same ought to be done in our Country." To which Sir Daniel replied that the Papists and Non-jurors were so few and inconsiderable in Westmorland that they were not dangerous. Moreover the mob is so averse to them and to Popery that there would be twenty to one against them. However, on 21 March, he forwarded the following particular account of the Papists within the county of Westmorland.
Sir Thomas Strickland, of Sizergh, Knt., his lady and children did in 1688, or soon after, go into France as it is said with his Majesty's licence, where he died as it is reported, and not any of the rest of them have since been in this county. The estate is farmed to Protestants.
George Leyburne, Esq., and his family, are now and have lived for divers years in this county, he is very infirm with the gout and goes seldom abroad. He has no arms nor horses above the value aforesaid.
Marmaduke Witham, (fn. 1) doctor, his wife and servants have lived for divers years in the county of York.
Warrant from Sir William Fleming, J. Grahme, and Daniel Wilson directing the constables forthwith to set two sufficient men well armed on the day time, and four men by night, to watch and keep sufficient ward within their constablewicks and to take, apprehend and sieze all Papists and suspected persons that shall be found travelling or in any suspected houses and cause the same to be brought before the justices to find sufficient security for their good behaviour. Given under our hands and seals this 4th day of August, 1714. Browne MSS. vol. i. n. 25.
Warrant to the high constable of Kendal Ward and to the constables of Milnthorpe and Beetham, dated 28 August, 1714, from John Harrison and John Archer, justices of the Peace, for search to be made for any arms, weapons, or gunpowder, in the custody of George Hilton, esq. of Bethom, a Papist. Browne MSS. vol. i. n. 24.
Whereas a warrant was granted for apprehending George Hilton of Bethom, esq., which said warrant was not executed, we his majesty's Justices of the Peace being informed that the said George Hilton was concerned in the late rebellion against his Majesty King George, and that since the defeat of the rebels at Preston hath made his escape. These are therefore to require and command you the chief constable of Kendal Ward to make diligent search in all and every constablewick within your said Ward, and if upon such search you should find the said George Hilton that then you immediately apprehend him and convey him to the Common Gaol of this county and deliver him to the keeper thereof. Warrant from Daniel Wilson, John Archer, John Fisher and Anthony Askew, dated 26 November, 1715. Browne MSS. vol. 1, n. 35.
Summons from Daniel Wilson, John Archer and Anthony Askew to Thomas Shipherd, George Hilton, John Hale, John Burrow and William Clawson, all of Beetham, to appear at the Moot Hall in Kirkeby Kendall, to take the oaths prescribed for the further security of his Majesty's person and Government and the succession of the Crown in the heirs of the late Princess Sophia, being protestants, and for extinguishing the hopes of the pretended Prince of Wales and his open and secret abbettors. Dated 15 December, 1715. Similar summonses to Mrs. Askew, widow in the island in Applethwaite, Miles Atkinson and Benjamin Harrison both of Applethwaite, James Longmire de Linefitt, James Longmire de Orrest, John Longmire de Calgarth and George Elleray de Houe of Applethwaite, Robert Stephenson of Newhouse and George Dennison of Mirehead, both in Grayrigg, Samuel Newby of Tenterden in Docker and Thomas Dawson of Crosthwaite. Dated 15 December, 1715. Browne MSS, vol. i, nos. 40, 45, 48, 49.
The Jacobite rising in 1715 was the cause for the compilation of the English Catholic Nonjuror Register, so that the authorities might keep control upon all such as might be suspected of sympathising with the Pretender. In this Register (fn. 2) we find the following:—
John Wilkinson, (fn. 3) of Bradley-field, gent., son of the last, who owned an estate in fee at Kirkby Kendal, valued at £23 10s.
William Gandy of Beetham, who held with three others one-third of the Parsonage-house of Beetham, held in trust by William Sandford of Askham, and Timothy Banks of Skipton, for William Gandy, Anne Gandy his sister and their infant brothers, James and Anthony, all four being children of William and Eleanor Gandy, valued at £26 5s.
Under the policy of Clarendon and Sheldon the strict enforcement of all the penal laws against Romanist and Protestant Recusants alike was urged, but under the first half of the "Cabal" ministry (1667–73) conventicles were connived at and the Westmorland non-conformists received a quiet toleration from the magistrates. Then came the famous Declaration of Indulgence (15 March, 1671/2) by which Charles 11 suspended the operation of most of the penal laws in matters ecclesiastical against those of his subjects who did not conform to the Church of England. Many of the local Presbyterians availed themselves of the Indulgence but the Quakers appear to have refused it on account of the oath required.
But the hope of tolerance was short lived, the "Cabal" administration was breaking up and on 7 March, 1673, the Declaration was withdrawn. On the 29th of the same month the Test Act was passed, directing all officers to government to receive the sacrament according to the form of the Church of England and to take the oaths against Transubstantiation, etc. Then on 12 February, 1674/5, the king issued his recantation" that all our licences were long since recalled and that no Conventicle hath any authority, allowance or encouragement from us." As an immediate result John Otway and other magistrates, on 27 March following, issued their warrants, as stated above, when some 134 persons were presented at the 16 April Sessions for having abstained from attending their parish churches.
In April, 1687, James II issued his Declaration for liberty of conscience, giving his subjects leave to "meet and serve God after their own way and manner, be it in private houses or places purposely built or hired for that use," on the understanding that such places were to be made known to and licensed by the magistrates. Two years later came the Toleration Act of 1689, which, although it did not alter the law, relieved from penalty all persons who took the new oath of allegiance and supremacy and also made a Declaration against Popery and which further allowed the Quakers to substitute an affirmation for the oath. While it did not relax the provisions of the Test Act it laid the foundation of religious liberty, and from it dates the legal existence of Nonconformist congregations.
For instance on 15 January, 1691/2, the house of James Garnett, Moss-side in Crosthwaite, was licensed for Mr. Richard Frankland to preach in. (K. Order Book, 1669–96). In 1697 Quarter Sessions ordered that certificates be granted to the following houses set apart for religious worship for Protestants "defealing" from the Church of England, so that they be used according to law. K. Order Book, 1696–1724.